Saturday, November 27, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Christ the King Sunday, 2010
written for worship at Montecito Covenant Church
by Diana R.G. Trautwein
You may not be aware of this, but today marks the last Sunday of the year - the church year, that is. Today is the last Sunday in the longest season of our liturgical calendar, a season which is called Ordinary Time. Next Sunday, the New Year begins as we step into the first Sunday in Advent. As each year comes to its close, the church has chosen to remember that the baby whose advent we await is, in fact, our King. So I begin our prayer time today with the collect - or short prayer - for this Sunday in the church year:
May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”
We offer heartfelt thanks today, Lord God, that you are indeed almighty and merciful.
We humbly recognize that we desperately need you to be both of those things - mighty to save and merciful to forgive.
Thank you that even in the midst of the most ordinary of our days, you are still and always God, that your son Jesus reigns in heaven with you and the Holy Spirit, and that we - for some miraculous, hard-to-fathom reason - are invited into the fellowship which you enjoy together.
Thank you that we have been born into a life of privilege and of blessing; that we live in a place of beauty and abundance; that by virtue of our birth in this great land, we are granted the grace and the freedom to gather in worship together any time we choose.
Thank you that even our darkest days can be lightened by your presence with us; that the most tangled of our problems do not overwhelm you; that the worst we can do to ourselves or to others is never beyond your willingness to forgive and to redeem.
Thank you that you are God, King of the Universe and King of our lives.
Help us to acknowledge your reign in the daily doings of our lives; to seek your guidance and direction in the making of our decisions, both large and small; to yield to your truth, to trust in your faithfulness, to live in your light.
Forgive the many and various ways in which we sin against you and against one another. Give us eyes to see our own foibles and failings and to offer those places of struggle up to you. For it is in our brokenness that you can bring wholeness, it is through our battle scars that your light can shine, it is by your grace that we can begin to see ourselves as new creatures, those who are slowly but steadily taking steps toward transformation and redemption.
As we celebrate a national holiday built around the idea of giving thanks, help us, O Lord, to truly cultivate grateful hearts. Because it is gratitude which can soften the rough edges, open our hearts to the beauty around us and help us to see one another as reflections of your glorious son, Jesus Christ, whose kingship we celebrate today and always. Amen.
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Did you know there are ELEVEN published verses to the hymn, "For All the Saints?" I didn't either, until I looked it up on Google last night. Eleven verses. These words, all eleven verses of them, were written by an English bishop specifically for this day in the church calendar - All Saints' Sunday. And Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote the magnificent melody we began our worship with today - a melody considered by many to be the greatest hymn tune written in the 20th century. He gave this strong unison line the title, "Sine Nomine" - which means "without name," because it was crystal clear to everyone in the English speaking church that this tune was written for this set of lyrics. In our six-verse collection, we are missing the verses extolling the martyrs, the evangelists, and the apostles. We're also missing a verse encouraging soldiers fighting the fight of faith. And then there's this one which we don't sing: